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Honors Seminars Fall 2022

HON 383: Black Womanist Perspectives

TR 2:10–3:25 p.m. CRN 42451

This course will place Black women within the context of social and political struggles in the American experience, from the nascent years of the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movements to the Stonewall Rebellion and Black Lives Matter. We will accomplish this through our study of Black women’s writing (nonfiction and fiction) and other creative works that centers their critical thought, their ambitions, and their struggles in fighting for social change and equity. Open to juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.00 or higher, or by permission of the instructor. This course counts as an HON 300 seminar for A&S students and counts as a Diversity (D) course. Majors in PHI, Social Justice, and ENG may take this class for elective credits in their majors. BAR, HAS, and HARTT students can count this for General Education Honors credits. CETA and ENHP students should check with their College Honors Coordinators. This class will count as a UISC-D.

HON 385: Chaos and Complexity In The Visual Arts
W 5–7:20 p.m. CRN 42852

This seminar will use the lens of Complexity Theory to explore a wide-range of visual artworks, including da Vinci, Bosch, Turner, Goya, Duchamp and Pollock. These artists will be studied because they can give us a better understanding, not only of our complex world, but also give us insights into the many ways we have danced with chaos in the past. Students will be introduced to Complexity Theory and its related concepts, including open, non-linear systems, phase transitions, feedback loops, bifurcation, evolutionary theory, turbulence, emergence, and most importantly, chaos. Students will apply their understanding of these concepts to our changing ideas of chaos as depicted in the visual arts for the past five hundred years.

In religion, chaos was defined as the evil firmament from which a more perfect world order emerged. From this perspective, the continued existence of chaos explained the fall from grace and the constant presence of evil. Only the heavens are perfect. When chaos could not be banished by the Newtonian clockwork model, the Scientific Revolution simply dismissed chaos as evidence of a lack of knowledge. In the 19th Century, one form of chaos was the discovery of the exceptional heat energy released by fossil fuels. It was assumed that utopian progress would surely come if this chaotic energy could be controlled. By building more efficient machines, from steam engines in the 19th Century to nuclear reactors in the 20th Century, the Industrial Revolution would surely bring about endless progress. However, the 19th Century theory of thermodynamics and entropy revealed that the energy released by fossil fuels couldn’t be harnessed completely; there will be chaos always. Tragically, the energy we are releasing today will change our world in ways that cannot be reversed. Modern artists like Pollock both represent current understanding of this complex system and express existential responses to this chaotic complexity. Prerequisite: An overall GPA of 3.00 or higher. This seminar can be counted as an academic elective by HAS students and/or as an HON course by HAS students. It can be taken as an HON 300 seminar by A&S students. It also can be taken as a non-major, general education HON course by BAR (three of first nine credits), CETA (three of first six credits), ENHP (three of first six credits), and Hartt students (three credits of fine or performing arts).

HON 389: Humanities Seminar Decolonizing the University

M 5–7:20 p.m. CRN 41497

This seminar will focus on the social movements that led to the creation of Ethnic Studies departments in various universities. Starting from the perspective of what it means to be part of a minoritized racial and/or ethnic group in the United States and how such peoples have fought for and continue to seek their own liberation, this course will focus on topics such as: Latino/a and Afro-Latino/a art and literature; colonialism and Indigenous rights; the establishment of centers for Black, Dominican and Puerto Rican Studies; the literature of Asian migrant families; and the ongoing defunding of Ethnic Studies programs. This course is only open to students who received a fellowship from the UHart Humanities Center in Spring 2022.This course will count for the following programs: Communication major (as CMM 391, 3 credits), Digital Media and Journalism major (as CMM 389, 3 credits), Africana Studies minor (as an elective or social sciences elective, 3 credits), Politics & Government students may receive 3 credits toward their major if their final project explores politics and is approved by their department. Students majoring in other disciplines should check with their advisor.